What drove you to start designing jewellery?
Kemal Yılmaz: I started my career as an industrial designer but, “physical functionality” is a rule I stay away while designing. Jewellery design is a field where I can experience designing through visual functionality regardless of these rules.
How do you train your eye?
Kemal Yılmaz: Stuff that influences me is usually unrelated to each other but, the lack of relatedness brings about more hybrid ideas. Apart from that, everything that irritates my eye and I trains my eye. Consequently, the work that I do becomes a manipulative and activist response to these things.
What is the story behind Kawah?
Kemal Yılmaz: The centre of Kawah’s story is men. It is a species that is drawn to extinction by prehistoric women. We see these fossilized nervure forms like pieces of jewellery that reached our time. That, in a way, is a response to the dogmatic and patriarchal system that I grew up in.
Do you think that the term multidisciplinary is overused and the meaning of the word is misinterpreted?
Kemal Yılmaz: I think trying to be multidisciplinary and expecting someone to be multidisciplinary is a concept that came with corporate capitalism. I think it is misinterpreted and it depersonalizes creativity especially in the field of design. Having a multidisciplinary vision is a process of experience and I think is normal in a creative sense, but this process should feed the development of the designer or the artist.
What kind of process did you have to follow to remove your personal geographical limitations?
Kemal Yılmaz: Beyond geographical limitations, I had to exceed limitations that exist in my own country. I tried every possible way to have my master’s degree in abroad after my education, but the international scholarships that I received through my graduate degree and several design contests, had been revoked twice by the state of Turkey. I think at that point, my decision to leave Turkey was the biggest step I took in my life. I spontaneously decided to leave in the panic and political tension of 2016 and moved to New York with my own means. This new start made me leave my former self and guided me towards the person I wanted to be and the work I wanted to do. I received a work permit through exceptional talent visa from the United States. It was never easy but now I am glad I did it.
What’s next for you?
Kemal Yılmaz: I definitely want to move KEMAL YILMAZ further. The next collection will be a more comprehensive collection of accessories and clothing.